GM considers small-displacement diesel engine for its pickups

Article by Anita Panait, on January 16, 2014

General Motors mulls adding a small-displacement diesel engine to its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups to improve their fuel economy. GM’s trucks currently lag behind the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and new Ford F-150 in terms of mpg numbers. The Ram EcoDiesel is expected to get an EPA-certified highway fuel economy number of around 28 mpg while the lightweight Ford F-150 is aimed at achieving 30 mpg.

According to Ford, the shift to aluminum cuts the curb weight of the 2015 F-150 from comparable 2014 models by between 550 and 700 lbs, depending on the trim level. On the other hand, GM’s most fuel-efficient truck bears an EPA highway rating of 24 mpg.

Steve Kiefer, GM's vice president of global powertrain, said at the Detroit auto show that all options are open, including possibly resurrecting a 4.5-liter V-8 diesel engine that was intended for GM trucks five years ago. GM was to build the engine at its Tonawanda engine plant in New York but had to cease the project after running into financial problems.

"We are looking closely at diesel entrees in that segment," Kiefer remarked, adding that the 4.5-liter V-8 diesel engine is certainly one of the options. GM redesigned its full-sized trucks in 2013 year, so it is next to impossible their bodies would be shifted to aluminum until the next redesign. 

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